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Study Hints At Time Before Big Bang

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the other-side-of-the-looking-glass dept.

Space 408

canadian_right informs us that scientists from Caltech have found hints of a time before the Big Bang while studying the cosmic microwave background. Not only does the study hint at something pre-existing our universe, the researchers also postulate that everything we see was created as a bubble pinched off from a previously existing universe. This conjecture turns out to shed light on the mystery of the arrow of time. Quoting the BBC's account: "Their model suggests that new universes could be created spontaneously from apparently empty space. From inside the parent universe, the event would be surprisingly unspectacular. Describing the team's work at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in St Louis, Missouri, co-author Professor Sean Carroll explained that 'a universe could form inside this room and we'd never know.'"

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408 comments

first post from (5, Funny)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721413)

new universe.

Re:first post from (4, Funny)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722013)

I find this post surprisingly unspectacular.

Re:first post from (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722161)

In Soviet Russia, YOUR post is surprisingly unspectacular.

Re:first post from (2, Funny)

elmarkitse (816597) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722391)

I'll start laughing once I'm finished pinching off a new universe.

Personally, I think if nothing else, the smell is indeed QUITE spectacular and I don't know how he expects to pinch one off in a room full of observant scientists with no one noticing the utterly out of place voiding process.

A Boon to all New Yorkers (3, Funny)

Sierran (155611) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721429)

They need to get cracking on this. A universe from my closet? Fan*TAS*tic! My rent/sq. ft. is going down as I write...

Re:A Boon to all New Yorkers (2, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721593)

Um, no, it's NOT. Expect a rent increase application to be made tomorrow so you have to pay the same amount per sq. foot contained within your domicile.

I hope the rest of your place is filled with cash...

Re:A Boon to all New Yorkers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722393)

You're in New York, and you have a spare closet?

Why aren't you subletting?!?

What did you expect to see? (5, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721451)

Didn't string theory already predict something like this?

Really though, what (in the background radiation) would point to no time before the big bang? A Kotch curve? A Hilbert curve? Complete order and continuity? I fail to see how 'blips' in the cosmic background radiation proves anything about time before the big bang.

Re:What did you expect to see? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721489)

Sure, except that, so far, no one's been able to devise any experiments to prove or disprove string theory.

Re:What did you expect to see? (2, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721605)

Detailed measurements made by the satellite have shown that the fluctuations in the microwave background are about 10% stronger on one side of the sky than those on the other.
I'm pretty sure that you could take any axis and get around 10% difference in fluctuations, it is fairly randomly dispersed after all, this should happen.

I'm just saying it seems like quite a stretch.

I think you mean... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23721699)

...String hypothesis.

Re:I think you mean... (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722021)

The consensus in science amongst string theorists is that string theory is correct.

Re:I think you mean... (3, Funny)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722173)

The consensus in science amongst string theorists is that string theory is correct.
Best bit of sarcasm I've read in a while!

Gravity is a Theory. String hypothesis is what you get when Cosmologists are bored and drink way too much coffee.

Re:I think you mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722225)

The consensus in music amongst string musicians is that string theory is correct.
Fixed.

AFAIK (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721809)

AFAIK, it didn't predict anything (experimentally measurable) yet that isn't already predicted by other, simpler theories. I.e., it still fails Occam's Razor. Miserably.

Plus, AFAIK a lot of it has a lot of possible solutions, and for some they don't even have the equations (yet), so there's not much of a prediction you can do with it. So far the majority of it isn't even as much a theory, as in something where you plug your values in a clear formula and get a prediction, but more of a theory that a theory might exist.

Or to put it otherwise, it's more of a mathematical construct than physics. Don't get me wrong, maths is a very very useful tool. Essential, even. But if I'm allowed a bad analogy, it's a bit like a painter's brush: it can be used to paint anything, regardless of whether it's real or outright impossible in the real world. You can use it to paint Mona Lisa or Escher's impossible pictures. So is maths. You can describe an infinity of possible universes with it, most of which have nothing to do with ours. You can use it to describe light propagation through ether, or the raisin pie atom model, or the ancient geocentric model, or even the counter-Earth ideas from waay back, all of which by now we know to be false. It becomes physics (or generally science) when you can test that formula against the real universe and see if it fits or not.

Should Occam upgrade to a Scythe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722055)

Or perhaps a broad sword ?

Either way I think he needs a bigger blade.

Re:AFAIK (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722163)

The existence of the universe fails Occam's razor pretty miserably.

Re:AFAIK (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722727)

You've done a wonderful job of simultaneously stating the obvious and missing the point.

Re:AFAIK (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722863)

You can use it to describe [...] even the counter-Earth ideas from waay back
I didn't know you could describe third-rate SciFi-as-an-excuse-for-BDSM hrough mathematics. Were Norman's publisations peer-reviewed? (Given their literary qualities I doubt it.)

Re:What did you expect to see? (2, Funny)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721841)

Damn, this got modded flamebait?

I must have misunderestimated the ire of the cosmic physicists on /.

Re:What did you expect to see? (1)

jaxtherat (1165473) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721863)

As someone not that familiar with string theory (and being unwilling to base my knowledge on Wikipedia alone), can someone please explain why this is wrong?

I'm guessing it's wrong as it got a Flamebait mod.

Cheers!

Re:What did you expect to see? (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722857)

There is nothing 'wrong' with string theory, it is simply a model of 'reality' that can describe a great deal of what we see around us. However there are other models that can do this and as numerous people have pointed out ST makes no novel predictions that can be tested.

Mathematical models like this are worth pursuing for their own sake. History has shown that solving seemingly esoteric mathematical problems has lead to a huge number discoveries about 'reality' since Newton's time. Some examples of the mind-boggling acurate mathematical predictions from the last half century include the CMBR, Black Holes, and BE condensates.

If think of the humand mind as a complex mathematical model of 'reality' that emerges from the computations of the brain and nervous system then it makes sense that maths is capable of describing what we perceive as 'reality' to such a degree that it leads to new discoveries about 'reality'.

Re:What did you expect to see? (5, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722015)

I always rationalised the Tardis in Doctor Who as some sort of pocket of universe that sprouts wormholes to different points in spacetime. Bigger on the inside than out would be no problem since the inside is a different spacetime connected to the Tardis's destination via a thin neck that is hidden by some sort of hologram. Come to think of it, since the outside of the Tardis is some sort of hologram hiding a wormhole entrance that explains how the Tardis can change shape to disguise itself. An if someone attacks outside of the Tardis you just turn of the hologram and break the thin neck to that part of spacetime and reconnect a bit later to make the thing appear indestructable.

And a civilisation like the Time Lords that's had spacetravel for thousands or millions of years and knows how to harness the power of blackholes would be plausibly be capable of this sort of thing. I certainly wouldn't expect them to be flying around in the sort of spaceships we'd design based on our current knowledge of technology.

So I'm not surprised either ;-)

Actually the odd thing about Doctor Who is that there is no evidence that the people that wrote it knew anything about physics, so the Tardis isn't supposed to be a pocket universe, but I can quite see explaining all the Tardis's odd properties using this model.

Re:What did you expect to see? (2, Informative)

Leonard Fedorov (1139357) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722317)

I always figured the TARDIS was bigger on the inside because the space was oriented through a higher (ie 4th) dimenstion perpendicular to own. Hence its intersection with perceivable 3d space would be small compared to its size.

Think of a 2d world, with another 2d world intersecting it. The cross section is far smaller than the 2d world that is intersecting.

Re:What did you expect to see? (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722075)

Really though, what (in the background radiation) would point to no time before the big bang?
From TFA:

Detailed measurements made by the satellite have shown that the fluctuations in the microwave background are about 10% stronger on one side of the sky than those on the other.

Sean Carroll conceded that this might just be a coincidence, but pointed out that a natural explanation for this discrepancy would be if it represented a structure inherited from our universe's parent.
They are saying that our universe started on the edge of something, which is why the CMB is not symmetrical.

some people have said (4, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721457)

that once we fully understand the universe it will be replaced with something even more complicated.

Others argue that this has already happened...

thhgttg

Ooops...? (2, Funny)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721461)

Sean Carroll explained that 'a universe could form inside this room and we'd never know.
Unless you had eggs and beans. Then it's kind of hard to hide it from anyone.

Re:Ooops...? (1)

heldlik (754106) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721931)

Now If only we could figure a way to repare a broken egg... things might become more clear.

read this back in 2000 (5, Interesting)

reydeyo (1126459) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721513)

Alan Guth described this sort of thing, and many other possible origins of the universe, in his book [amazon.com] written in 1998. I think I even remember him hypothesizing that a universe could possibly be its own parent. Definitely old news.

Re:read this back in 2000 (5, Insightful)

OzRoy (602691) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722027)

There is a big difference between someone expressing an idea, and someone actually saying "We have found evidence to suggest this is true."

Just because you read about the idea 10 years ago doesn't make this any less significant.

Re:read this back in 2000 (0)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722871)

> hypothesizing that a universe could possibly be its own parent

Wouldn't that be incest ?

This idea is hardly new. (4, Informative)

Chappsterr (1304949) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721555)

Seriously, I read about this idea years ago in Alan Guth's book, The Inflationary Universe. Chapter Fifteen. [google.com]

Re:This idea is hardly new. (2, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721755)

But what they are saying is they have evidence rather than an idea. Not awfully strong evidence, buyt it adds weight to the idea, which was previously just hot air - interesting, but still hot mair.

Re:This idea is hardly new. (5, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722607)

No, it's not evidence, it's an outlandish _interpretation_. We can only go by the BBC journalist's writeup of course, but here's how the scientific method (that they ought to be following) works:

First, they (should) ask do the "ordinary" physical laws explain the fluctuations? Next, if they have shown that _none_ of the physical laws _can_ explain the fluctuations, they should ask can this be a _new_ physical law to be _added_ to the existing ones? Next, if they have shown that adding such a new law is _inconsistent_ with existing laws, they should ask whether some of the existing laws are _wrong_?

If at the end of all that mountain of work, they still cannot fit the observation to a natural explanation, they should leave it at that and let somebody smarter go through their arguments to find what they missed.

Wow (4, Funny)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721597)

When I first read this, it sounded so strange that I was unable to conceive it in any meaningful way. Then I got really high. Now it seems self-evident. It may not be genuinely insightful, but it sure is fun.

Re:Wow (1)

myth_of_sisyphus (818378) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721727)

Exactly. If time stops, how long does it stop? Who times it? It could be an eternity or an hour. But why would it matter? There is no time. So nothing could happen before time, right? I'm gonna go get high.

Really, what does this mean? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23721621)

How can we define time independently of space? Can anybody devise an experiment that can measure time in some fundamental way without needing a displacement and a velocity?

This almost sounds like pseudoscience. Time as we know it can only be defined in our universe because this is the only place we can measure it. There is no logical reason whatsoever to believe that there was a 'before' the Big Bang because you can't assign any physical meaning to 'before' (as in 5 s before or 10 years before).

Re:Really, what does this mean? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23721687)

By the way, just to avoid confusion, what I meant by the above is this: consider an experiment where you are blowing up a balloon and you measure time by something traveling in the balloon or by the rate that the balloon expands. How do you measure time before you started inflating the balloon (where it had a volume of zero) when your experiment can only be done inside the balloon? It only makes sense to define time as far as the balloon (or universe) is concerned after the inflation has begun and the volume enclosed by the balloon is greater than zero. There is no you can infer by any characteristic in the balloon how time worked before. From an abstract reference point, this could be the first time the balloon inflated, or maybe you pinched off a zero volume part of another balloon and started inflating, or maybe this balloon inflated from zero and then deflated to zero over many cycles. Your measure of time has no meaning in any case and none of them are related. The expansion could have been different or you could have used a different gas which would affect each potential measure of time in the balloon.

Re:Really, what does this mean? (3, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722061)

Yeah but your balloon is embedded in a larger universe. You could define time in balloon terms but you could also come up with a definition of time which works before the balloon was inflated.

Similarly if our Universe is embedded a wider multiverse you could define time in such a way that you can have time before the big bang. But it's the fact that the universe is embedded in something else which is interesting to most people.

To me it seems appealing that the multiverse is in some steady state even if the universe isn't because that avoids the Big Bang being some sort of unique, magic Act of Creation.

Re:Really, what does this mean? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722193)

Yeah but your balloon is embedded in a larger universe. You could define time in balloon terms but you could also come up with a definition of time which works before the balloon was inflated.
A physical balloon is enclosed in our Universe were we can measure independently outside of it, but the balloon in the example only has the equipment for measuring time inside of itself. How do we know that our Universe is embedded in anything when like the balloon, we can only measure time here? We have to be strict on defining time in a physical sense, not a human sense. Displacement and velocity have meaning inside the balloon and we can use them to define time. How do you define displacement and velocity outside of the balloon? Do we have any reason whatsoever to believe that the physical laws that work inside the balloon are the same that would work outside the balloon?

What we are doing is conjecturing. We know there is no experimental way to find out about meta-universes a posteriori, so we theorize a priori. One of my favorite a priori meta-universes that is completely consistent with our own universe is a computer simulation. In the same way that a computer on Earth can simulate the Universe in the game Pong without the physical laws being even remotely similar, our Universe could be simulated with the physical laws different from the simulator. That is, of course, if a simulator exists, which I don't know nor do I think we can ever know (unless the programmers put in Matrix-like quirks).

I like the Pong example because you have a definite way to measure time (via position and velocity in the game, where velocity is the position increment per for loop). You can even pause the game in our Universe and it won't affect the time measurement in the game. If you paused the game for 1 second, let it continue for 5 s, and the paused it for 10 years, and then let it continue, the in game time would only be due to the position and velocity of the ball in the game. This is a great illustration of how even time isn't connected in the Pong Universe and our own.

Why do we think that our concept of time in our balloon-like universe necessarily has to be the same as that of some conjectured universe that we might have come from?

Re:Really, what does this mean? (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722277)

It's an interesting idea but I don't believe that we're living in a simulator where the laws of physics are different anymore than I believe that God who was somehow outside the Universe created it. Mostly because there is no evidence that either are true, but for the deeper reason than it would open a whole new question of who or what made God or the simulator.

Fred Hoyle proposed Steady State theory because you don't have a "moment of creation" that you need to explain. It didn't work, but if our universe was created out of another then the big bang wasn't a moment of creation. It seems like if this research produces a theory which is consistent with observations and where the multiverse has always existed it would be very elegant.

And I believe that a correct theory of everything would be elegant.

Re:Really, what does this mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722641)

It's an interesting idea but I don't believe that we're living in a simulator where the laws of physics are different anymore than I believe that God who was somehow outside the Universe created it. Mostly because there is no evidence that either are true,
There can't be any evidence as I previously pointed out. There are only axioms than you state to try to gain a priori knowledge. There is no more reason to think that the physical laws are the same than to think that they are different. Thus, all options can be explored, but no conclusion can be made. Any resulting theory assuming that a multiverse has the same physical laws as our universe will have equal philosophical weight as a theory that no multiverse exists or that a multiverse exists with different physical laws.

It seems like if this research produces a theory which is consistent with observations and where the multiverse has always existed it would be very elegant.
Again, as I've pointed out, there is no way to observe any outside universe from our own universe. Thus, any theory would be equally valid. Observation is the key. We can't observe the multiverse any more than we an observe outside of the balloon in my experiment. And as I've also pointed out, even if we could observe outside of our Universe (assuming a multiverse exists) there is no reason whatsoever to believe that our observations of an outside universe would be the same as in our universe (i.e. there is no reason to believe that something like time has the same meaning).

Re:Really, what does this mean? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722199)

To me it seems appealing that the multiverse is in some steady state even if the universe isn't because that avoids the Big Bang being some sort of unique, magic Act of Creation.
That's fine, but then you have to explain the multiverse in terms that are appealing (and by appealing I assume you mean some way that will not require any power, intelligence or authority greater than your own..). I don't have a problem with the Universe having been created, I think it's just as plausible that something created this Universe - though I don't know how whatever created it managed to come into existence, or always was in existence. It would be nice to think that there is another plane that we will still exist on when we die, but then again, it seems quite reasonable that there won't be.. :( and if there is some communal afterlife, it will still be full of jerks.

Re:Really, what does this mean? (2, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722377)

That's fine, but then you have to explain the multiverse in terms that are appealing (and by appealing I assume you mean some way that will not require any power, intelligence or authority greater than your own..).
Well no power that wasn't described by equations and in someway hardwired into reality. Certainly no intelligence. If the theory was complete it would explain the Big Bang.

I don't have a problem with the Universe having been created, I think it's just as plausible that something created this Universe - though I don't know how whatever created it managed to come into existence, or always was in existence.
Well our local bit of spacetime came into existence in the Big Bang. I just want an explanation for how that happened.

It's like the water cycle. Once you read that you know people understand this stuff properly. If people told you that it rained because God wanted it to or that there is a singularity at the bottom of the drain where the laws of physics broke down, that would just be a verbose way for them to tell you they didn't have a clue.

I want a theory that explains why the Big Bang happened. It would be some sort of cosmological matter cycle that explains what happens inside black holes and where the matter in the Big Bang came from.

Whether science will progress this far in my lifetime is a bit doubtful of course.

It would be nice to think that there is another plane that we will still exist on when we die, but then again
I seriously doubt that.

How dramatic do they want to be? (0, Flamebait)

Ritontor (244585) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721633)

At least they're thinking big, I guess. Like, you know, on the scale that makes God seem insignificant.

Re:How dramatic do they want to be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722087)

No, it may make us be insignificant. For example, what do we pinch?

Membranes? (2, Informative)

little1973 (467075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721675)

Isn't this similar to membrains supported by String theory? According to String theory the whole universe is a membrain. When our universe (membrain) collides with another membrane a new membrain may be created.

Re:Membranes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23721723)

Isn't this similar to membrains supported by String theory? According to String theory the whole universe is a membrain. When our universe (membrain) collides with another membrane a new membrain may be created.
oh come on! membrain and membrane in the same sentence?! rubbish!

Re:Membranes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23721799)

Isn't this similar to membrains supported by String theory? According to String theory the whole universe is a membrain. When our universe (membrain) collides with another membrane a new membrain may be created.

When our universe (membrain) collides with another membrane a new membrain may be created.
Would you mind explaining to me why our universe is a memBRAIN and how a collision with a memBRANE forms a new memBRAIN? And what does your brainbrane story have to do with String Theory?

Alternatively... (2, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721717)

Their model suggests that new universes could be created spontaneously from apparently empty space.

I take that to mean that universes could also be destroyed spontaneously...

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the universe is for it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. -- HHGG [wikipedia.org]

Re:Alternatively... (2, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721871)

Not necessarily, at least in its current state. The universe today is quite a bit bigger than when it started.

Welcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23721763)

Welcome, new galaxy?

Call me... (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721805)

Call me when they have observations, not hints and when it is reported by something else than BBC that wouldn't recognize a star from a galaxy

I would now like to be a philology nazi. (3, Interesting)

Ai Olor-Wile (997427) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721859)

Although the word "universe" is now accepted to mean "the membrane of space that was created by the Big Bang," this is etymologically inaccurate. Outside of playful uses (such as "off in one's own universe" or a TV serial's universe) the word "universe" should be synonymous with "absolutely everything ever," and we ought to come up with some intermediary term (like "brane" if you feel like you require more than ten dimensions in order to explain quantum phenomena) to refer to this nice big bubble of matter-energy we've found ourselves encapsulated in.

Good show about the microwave radiation, though. Now, let's hope that there isn't a film of Angels & Demons that is conveniently timed or anything.

Re:I would now like to be a philology nazi. (3, Interesting)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721899)

Absolutley everything ever = Omniverse

Not to be confused with Multiverse.

Our pocket is but one Universe.

Re:I would now like to be a philology nazi. (3, Insightful)

Ai Olor-Wile (997427) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721989)

No. Universe more-or-less means "one verse" in Latin, as in "the whole thing in one verse." Universals in Idealist philosophy were things that were always present, regardless of where you went, and applicable to everything that was material. You are using a back-formation created by someone who does not know their language history because they wanted to sound more ominous than "universe."

Re:I would now like to be a philology nazi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722647)

Heh, i thought the term universe originated from "universus", where uni = one and versus = hm, versus. Being the past partciple of "vertere": turned, flipped. It's the opposite of diverse - "two-sided".

So i don't really believe in your idealist verse stuff, but i have to agree multiverse and omniverse sound stupid.

Re:I would now like to be a philology nazi. (3, Funny)

simon_c_heath (688007) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722197)

Absolutley everything ever = Omniverse Not to be confused with Multiverse. Our pocket is but one Universe.
...and the open source version is Liniverse.

Re:I would now like to be a philology nazi. (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722413)

Absolutley everything ever = Omniverse
Ubuntu already has Universe and Multiverse, when will someone add Omniverse? I wonder what interesting packages it contains.

Re:I would now like to be a philology nazi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722763)

Am I the only one who thought Debian repositories with all this talk about Universe, Multiverse and Omniverse???

Re:I would now like to be a philology nazi. (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722073)

This is like complaining that "organic food" is no more carbon-based than other kinds of food.

It's not useful to deliberately confuse the natural language sense of a word with a technical word of the same spelling and only somewhat related meaning. Other terms (such as the "brane" that you suggest) are biased towards particular interpretations of the data and are thus not desirable.

By the way, what's time ? (1)

wakaziva (1000055) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721865)

One cannot possibly define what time exactly means.

Re:By the way, what's time ? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722301)

Time is an illusion.

Lunchtime doubly so.
Myself, I think time is when stuff is moving. If something is changing states at all (an electron orbiting a proton for example) then time is passing.

All that is, seen and unseen. (1)

some old guy (674482) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721927)

Without launching into a futile and fruitless debate over the etymology and semantics of "universe", I add my small voice to those who assert that "our universe", i.e. the observable and predictable one, is not at all "universal". Indeed, if one can embrace the concept of infinity, then our little cosmos becomes merely our current neighborhood. The possibilities around the corner, so to speak, are endless.

Sounds like philosophy and not science. (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721947)

Much of todays science really sounds more like philosophy than hard earned science. I want logic and data supporting scientific work and not just some coct up crazy theories thats more about debating skills than really proving something.

i always thought the big bang was bullshit (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#23721985)

i don't see why the universe can't be endless in time and space, and the expansion and contraction we see is local, while somewhere else they are having a pinch. kind of like the choppy surface of the ocean on a windy day: troughs and peaks

once we thought the earth was the center of the universe. we threw that centrism out the window. can't people see that the big bang theory is the same kind of centrism?: "this is all we know, therefore, that's all there is"

if there is anything science teaches us, it is that we are not the center of everything

Re:i always thought the big bang was bullshit (2, Insightful)

some old guy (674482) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722039)

Very well put. I might add that it is a fundamental error in logic to attempt to define the boundaries of, or apply measurements to the scope of our little bubble without presupposing a greater realm beyond. For something to have boundaries, it must exist within something to be bound from. "Everything" can't exist apart from or within something else. It means what it says: everything.

Re:i always thought the big bang was bullshit (2, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722463)

can't people see that the big bang theory is the same kind of centrism?

I think you need to watch this [badastronomy.com].

North of the North Pole anyone? (3, Interesting)

pstaight (1304975) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722035)

As Hawking put it; asking what happened before the Big Bang is like asking what's north of the North Pole.

What I take from his statement is that the universe can possibly map to a system with complex numbers where concepts similar to north of the North Pole exist. However, time does not apply until there are particles interacting with each other at rates that can be described with probability functions.

The rates must be non-zero otherwise the universe would be over instantly. Going faster than the speed of light would be the same as going faster than the speed of time. Is this article claiming otherwise?

Like the scene from Men in Black.... (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722059)

at the end when it zooms out from earth and goes past the planet, past many solar systems ect. and all the sudden everything is in a marble which an alien is playing with it.

Sounds like this.

What if.... (1)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722157)

What if these new universes are actually our own universe, and we are contained infinitely within ourselves? And conversely, one of an infinite number of elements that are within ourselves?

I really shouldn't be allowed on the internet this time of day.

Re:What if.... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722361)

[Bender takes the box from Farnsworth and shakes it. The building shakes.]

LEELA: Bender, quit destroying the universe!

Which goes to prove that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722207)

> the researchers also postulate that everything we see was created as a bubble pinched off from a previously existing universe.

Wow! Reading slashdot is better than smoking pot!

So it must be true... (1)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722351)

...that we are waiting for The Coming of The Great White Handkerchief!

Re:So it must be true... (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722527)

hAr..tshOwww!

Oh boy, what have I done? If that's a Universe in my hanky I hope those who lived in it have had a good time...if they didn't, sorry for the inconvenience, guys!

Fork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23722629)

Okay, who added this tag? Perhaps I'm too easily amused, but it cracks me up.

Apparent Formula for Cosmological Success (4, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722789)

1. Engage in baseless conjecture about alternative, unproveable universes.
2. Define new branch of mathematics that can support a complex multi-dimensional model reinforcing your baseless conjecture.
3. Publish in academic journals and popular media.
4. Lecture to gullible masses.
5. Profit!

6. Avoid performing any work beneficial to mankind. ~

My pet theory (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722803)

I've always liked to dream that our 3d universe is just the event horizon surface of a black hole in a 4d space. In this fantasy, the big bang is just our view of the supernova where the collapsing object's surface area and mass rapidly expanded. The rest of the 4d universe is inaccessible to us, just as the surface of a black hole in our universe has no way to "see" the rest of ours.

SF Reference (2)

varcher (156670) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722825)

I am surprised that no one made a reference to Cosm [amazon.com] (I have the Hardcover instead of this one, thanks), from esteemed physicist G. Benford, for a science-fictional treatment of that very topic (universe creation).

Obligatory quote (1)

Mhtsos (586325) | more than 5 years ago | (#23722907)

Farnsworth: Astonishing! I must have created a parallel universe.
Alternate Farnsworth: Baldercrap! I created your universe. All you created was my fist parallel to your face. [He weakly punches him.]
Farnsworth: Ow.
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